The DePaul Blue Demons might be getting a fancy $300 million arena upgrade if Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushes his proposal through, the Chicago Sun Times reported on Monday.
DePaul, which is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, has played its home games at Allstate Arena since 1980. The arena is located about 17 miles east of the school, next to O'Hare International Airport. The proposed 12,000 capacity arena would be located at McCormick Place, which is roughly six miles south of the university.
The mayor's office reportedly will issue a formal announcement of the proposal later in the week. The $300 million expected price tag will be equally paid for by taxpayers, the university and naming rights for the arena, according to CBS Sports.
Emanuel has pushed to bring the Blue Demons back to playing their home games closer to downtown Chicago. Earlier this year, he offered a 10-year, rent-free deal for DePaul to play in the United Center, home of both the Bulls and the Blackhawks. DePaul declined the offer, stating that they wanted to "do their own private building."
DePaul has struggled in recent years, finishing under .500 for the past six years, and the Blue Demons haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 2004. Attendance during this time at the Allstate Arena has suffered as well, with the Blue Demons averaging around 7,500 fans this past season -- much less than half of the 18,500 capacity of Allstate Arena.
Although Emanuel has pushed for DePaul to play closer to home repeatedly during his term, budget troubles might make it tough for public-assistance to contribute to the $300 million price tag on a new arena. As Governor Pat Quinn said in a statement in March, "Direct state support for a private stadium is not something the state can afford... Illinois is facing a $97 billion unfunded pension liability and the most difficult budget in recent memory."
DePaul plays 16 home games a year, which counts for 11 percent of events at Allstate Arena. The team has a contract to play there that expires in 2015.